To those born at the verge of the 21st century, the memories of Germany’s division because of the Berlin Wall is but a mere lesson contained in history books. The wall created many divisions that took roots in the physical division but fully manifested in the ideological division that East and West Berlin had respectively. What The Edukators sought to capitalize on is the ideological division that haunted the unified Germany. Years after the collapse of the full, certain anti-capitalist sentiments are found in the disgruntled lower classes who enjoy the benefits of capitalism the least. This very clash of both the pro-capitalist and anti-capitalist sentiment is at the very core of the film. The main protagonists of the film are a ragtag group of self-proclaimed anti-capitalist teenagers, comprising of Jan, Peter, and Jule, who brand themselves as “The Edukators,” whose main objective was to strike fear into the bourgeois sector of Berlin’s society.
Although there was glimpses of artistry in the non-violent vandalism that The Edukators did, the film was unable to sustain this and eventually fell into the trap of devoting excessive amounts of time in the overdevelopment of the characters. Rather than fully capitalizing on the potentially interesting perspective of capitalism for those born into a reunified Germany, the film chooses to devote most of its time in the petty affairs of the group. It is for this very reason that one can easily dismiss how passionate The Edukators truly are for their cause against capitalism.
The film falls flat once it chooses to shift the focus of the narrative to be solely on the dynamic of the group. The anti-capitalist dissipates completely despite having kidnapped one of the bourgeois individuals who placed Jule in a huge debt. Despite being placed in such a precarious situation, the petty affairs of the group continue to remain as their main topic of conversation. Hardenberg, the individual who they kidnapped, is who the audience is able to empathize with easily since he has to deal with the love affair between the group and the pettiness of it all. Despite the film’s attempt to incorporate the clash between pro-capitalist and anti-capitalist during this part, it feels forced given how the film conveniently remembers that it was intended to discuss the ideological difference regarding capitalism. The integrity of their dedication towards the cause is highly doubtful at this point given how what is imprinted in the minds of the audience is how typical that they choose to prioritize their obnoxious problems over their ideology.
Put succinctly, The Edukators was film that had much potential in it. Discussing the ideology behind anti-capitalist sentiment from the perspective of teenagers could have been an interesting topic to pick apart. However, the film chose to completely derail from this path and go the obvious path of discussing the typical lives and problems faced by teenagers. What promised to be an insightful and thought-provoking film in the first few minutes lead to great disappoint that makes the viewer feel deeply unsatisfied.